Center Parcs

Elveden Forest, , United Kingdom
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  • Families74
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  • Solo100
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More about Center Parcs

Elveden...I think I know what the problem is!

by TripAdvisor Member KTUk

Having married into a family of Elveden devotees, my husband and I go to this Center parcs once a year during July.

Having read some of the reviews i think the main problem is this:

Elveden is very beautiful and peaceful. It has a beautiful setting and environment. The rooms rooms range from basic through to Exclusive and there is a wonderful atmosphere. However, the cost of the accomodation does not often match peoples' expectations. When you can be paying anythin from £300 for a three bedroom off peak comfort villa to an amazing £900 + for the same villa in the summer, you would expect a certain standard.

We have never experienced any of the problems with cleanliness or shabbiness however for the money you are paying you expect perfection. Elveden have been undergoing gradual refurbishment of some of the villas however, they are still charging high amounts of money for tired, concrete chalets. I can imagine that if this is your first experience of Elveden and you are presented with an old 1980's chalet for the money you would be highly dissappointed.

Putting this to one side, people do go back year after year because of the atmosphere, car free, tranquil holiday.

The staff are a bit hit and miss. You can find yourself waiting a while for food which isn't always great. Despite this, when you are in a relaxed holiday atmosphere you may not mind waiting that extra while.

Center parcs is as expensive as you want it to be. If you have an active family then you will pay extra for the activities. We work on the basis of choosing one or two mian activites and then joining the tournaments which provide entertainment for the family.

I think the staff and management need to relaise that people are paying a lot to stay in the UK and that they need to step up to people's expectations. Despite the poor reviews, most of the people say they will be back for a next vist because the elements that make Elveden wonderful must override its downsides.

We love it as a family and it has become part of our yearly routine. Being surrounded by nature is wonderful and having that great holiday atmosphere is fabulous. Lets give Elveden time for impovements and constructive criticism based on the cost of the holiday should always be welcomed by the management.

lovely place, terrible accomodation

by TripAdvisor Member NicolaRichard

Having previously stayed at Longleat and Sherwood Forest, this probably has to be the worst one we have been to.
The place itself is lovely, quiet and peaceful which is what you would expect from Centre Parcs.

We stayed in a three bedroom comfort villa because we brought a dog. Although we didnt expect 5 star accomodation, we at least expected better levels of cleanliness than we got. Don't get me wrong the two most important rooms were spotless, the kitchen and bathroom. But the windows were filthy with fingerprints, the bedding was torn and the bedrooms smelt strongly of damp.
I know that Centre Parcs will be refurbishing all the villa's in the future but for the amount of money they must make each year it really should have been done sooner.

That aside we had a great holiday, the park isnt that big or hilly so you can walk everywhere without the need for a bike. There are plenty of nice walks you can take around the park ranging from 1 to 5 miles.

We spent an afternoon at the Aqua Sana which was really nice and well worth the money. There wasnt many people in there so you could relax in peace and quiet. I would recommend going on a monday or friday as they are the quietest times (also the cheapest!)

We didnt do any of the more expensive activities, we just played badminton, golf, went out on the lake etc.
We went to the Broadway show which was good once you got past all the silliness at the start. When the show actually started it was surprisingly good, they were all really good singers and dancers, you can tell a lot of work went into putting the show together.

We ate out on four of the nights in Lucianos, Rajinda, Hucks and Hugo's. The service was terrible in all but Lucianos. We were left waiting for what seemed like ages to even order our food. Was disappointed with Hugo's it had a very small menu and it was quite expensive compared to the other restaurants. That said the food was nice though.

The "subtropical" swimming paradise seemed a bit of a joke to us, the hot whirlpools were lukewarm and only marginally warmer than the main pool. The outside pools were the same I remember at the other parcs you went outside and steam rose off the water, there was none of this here!!!

Overall we had a nice relaxing break, the accomodation was a big let down but it didnt let that ruin our holiday.
We may visit again after all the work is done on the villa's.

I experienced no problems and had the best holiday ever

by TripAdvisor Member CharleyCook

I have been to all of the center parcs over the past 10 years and loved them, we went back to elveden forest on 2nd July 2007 for a mid week stay. I came onto trip advisor to read some comments and I have to admit from reading the previous comments on here I was very worried about our holiday....but we had the best time and I do not have one thing to complain about!!

We stayed in a 2 bed comfort villa and it was just how I remembered it, I do agree that they all need updating but they are currently building new villas that look fantastic, our villa was fine we had a great spot right by the lake so every morning we were greeted by the ducks. The villa was very clean and all bedding was fine and all looked very new to me and did not have stains and rips like I had read in other comments.

The thing I was most worried about from reading the previous comments was the food! We ate in:

Pancake house - must visit, great service, great food we went twice.

Luciano’s – best Italian I have ever eaten in, not expensive – around same price as pizza express/zizzi, ate here twice.

Indian – good, not the best I have ever had but nice – bit more expensive than other places.

For lunch we ate in Chez Pierre and The Sports Café which were both very nice.

I have read many bad reviews about Huck’s dinner, we were looking at the menu outside one day deciding whether to give it ago, but a couple stopped and told us not to bother as they had eaten there the night before and it was horrendous.

We did many activities including: short tennis, badminton, snooker, pool, mini golf, ten pin bowling, swimming, spa and the high ropes. The only activity that we pre-booked was the high ropes and it is defiantly worth ago, the instructors were excellent and really were a laugh. All other activities we booked on the day but we were there when it was rather quiet so I would advise booking before if you are going in peak time.

Over all we each spent around £200 in five days, so £40 per day what I did not think was too bad considering we ate out every day for lunch and dinner, drank lots of wine, did many activities a day and this also included our bike hire.

Over all I loved every minute of the holiday and we will defiantly be going back, our age range is 22 – 26, but center parcs is suitable for all age ranges.

Great for kids, not great value for money

by TripAdvisor Member mytravelBromley

We stayed in the four bed 'Maple' comfort villa. Plenty of room in open plan living / dining / kitchen area. Impressed with the supply of kitchenware however not impressed there was no dishwasher considering the £1200 pounds spent for a four night midweek break! Disappointing that the bedrooms smelt musty -put this down to the two 'internal' bathrooms that had no windows only an extraction fan, which we had to keep on. Leaking shower unit door left a puddle in the shower room after use. Bed mattresses were very firm (could feel the springs) - did not get a good nights sleep. Interior decor definitely needs upgrading, quite dull and faded. Having said this, the facilities on site were great for kids especially giving them the freedom to ride about all around the park on the hire bikes. Generally felt kids were safe and secure - no gangs of youths. Shame the heavily publicised themed Morrocan night didn't live up to expectation. Got to the restaurant at 8.15pm, ok buffet selection (nothing for veggies except salad and rice - observation only, we are not vegetarians) cost of £18 per adult and £9 per child (drinks extra), lack lustre (learner/beginner) lone belly dancer & portable CD player and by 9pm we were the only guests in the restaurant and staff started clearing tables in prep for the morning!! Fantastic Hollywood gala show on the last night, excellent dancers / singers however, once again the buffet a let down and even run out before the time specified. I think Center Parcs Elveden needs a new catering manager as all restaurant food service was very slow though plenty of waiting staff to taking orders. Spa facilites excellent as were all staff encountered during my three hour session - clean facilities.

Didn't want to leave !!!!!

by TripAdvisor Member top-cuckoo

We have just returned from a fantastic four day stay at Centre Parcs at Elvedon. We stayed in a four bedroom exclusive lodge with the most amazing facilities. We had a lovely Hot Tub which was checked on a daily basis. We had a sauna and steam room which was attached to a wet room, again brilliant. The lodge was set in a lovely postion, away from anything apart from the wildlife which was lovely. It was kept clean and tidy at all times. We self catered so didnt eat out but the staff that we came across were very polite. All the activities were brilliant and there was someting for all ages. Brilliant for all the family, whatever age. Will be booking again for next year.

You get what you pay for

by TripAdvisor Member PMCR5

We have just returned from a stay at elveden and had a great time. We had a 3 bed Comfort villa plus from Fri to Mon. The villa was a little tired but clean and well maintained with a view over the river. We paid £400 which we thougt was more than fair represenation for what we got. We had no complaints about our accommodation.

We did some activities that were extra - golf/fishing/spa and felt w egot good value for money on all. However we did not eat out but self catered so cannotgive a review on the restaurants.

Thought the pool was fantastic warm enough and yes it was crowded but i have yet to go to a water park that wasnt!

I think centre parcs is as expensive as you make it,true we did not go during school holidays but the few extras that we paid for we were happy with. However everything we experienced we couldnt fault.

Expensive, expensive, expensive

by TripAdvisor Member RobinWOxford

Just got back from a weeks stay at Elveden. There were four in our party - me, wife and two grown up kids.
It is a nice location with peace and tranquility everywhere you look. Thats where it stops. You need to take a pretty full wallet of cash for all the 'extras' if you want to do anything else other than swim, swim or swim. A weeks cycle hire is £20 and unless you are heavily into walking, a cycle is a must (you can't drive everywhere in your car as thats in the main car park). A cycle hemet is £1 per week but a £15 returnable deposit is required for each. There are many activities to do but you have to pay to do them - nothing is free - except the water dome.
As fot the accomodation, we had a 3 bed villa. It was comfortable but the main bedroom did smell musty. Paint was peeling off the en suite bathroom ceiling and the extacter fan didn't work (probably why the bedroom smelt). Trying to watch TV in the evening was hopeless and I complained to the infomation desk 4 times. It never got fixed. For over £1000+ for a week I would have expected better. Still, you live and learn - next time it will be abroad again!!!
Any questions - just ask:

Not so hot on the food front

by TripAdvisor Member sitgesgirl

Recently went to Center Parks for a girls week-end away. Our executive villa was very nice with every comfort, warm and very clean.
We had problems at entry though, we had early booking with our villa but there were no staff to direct anyone so we ended driving round in a circle and ended up by someone just letting us all in behind a delivery truck. The park is defintely for those with young children, although my opinion was that there were far too many people in the pool area, which was also not very warm and there were queues to go on every water slide and we went on the rapids and in the past there have been security personnel with whistles stopping young boys cavorting and holding hands making the slide a bit dangerous for young children but, this time the security personnel took no notice of what was going on, probably because they were younger than the offenders!

We were unable to book at any restaurant for meals and were told just to walk in - which we did and we had to wait an hour and a half for a table - the restaurant was full (Bella Italia). Our orders were taken and then we were told there was no linguini so alternatives were chosen, then we were told there was linguini so all change again. One of our party did not get a starter, but did get an apology and her starter arrived which should have had chicken in it but came with just cheese, then we all got our main course but again she did not get her main course, again, she got an apology and her main course arrived, but instead of getting chicken pasta she got chicken with cheese on and chips. All the staff could say was that they had only been opened a week and obviously had some teething problems. However, they did deduct the price of the meal from the bill but this did not really make up for the loss of what could have been a lovely evening. We were not the only people who were complaining. All the restaurants on site had long waiting lists and, to be honest, the food was very basic and if I stayed there again I would either send out for pizza or just cook myself.

Having said all of the above we did visit the Spa and this well made the visit worthwhile - it does cost an extra £35 on top of your villa stay and you only get 3 hours in there but we all enjoyed our visit to Aqua Sauna and, given the choice, I think we would all plump for just an Aqua Sauna day and forget the stay over.

nice, but could be better

by TripAdvisor Member terryhey

having experienced several UK holiday parks over the past few years this was our first experience at a Centre Parcs and it was a mixed bag.
The lack of cars make it a pleasant safe environment, the downside to this is when you need to get out in a hurry (see minus) its very hard to do so. Provided you can hope with the few stressful hours loading and unloading the cars on arrival and departure it works well.
The place is well situated and the surroundings are lovely, you really could be anywhere.
The pool area is excellent, especially for under three years old with the seperate area away from the main swimming pools, this means you can relax that little bit more when you are in the area.
We stayed in a 2 bed exec villa in the central area, and while looking a bit tired now it was fine for our purposes.
on the first afternoon our 2 year old slipped and fell on the front step. despite no obvious injuries she was in a great deal of pain so we went to the medical centre, being closed we used the emergency phone and was told that a lifeguard would be along to see us in the plaza, 30 mins later we gave up waiting and ended up calling an ambulance and spending a night at the suffolk A&E. What response did we get from centre parcs? A telephone call at 10 in our villa asking if it was ok now. For the money you pay and the size of the orgnaisation that is simply not acceptable
The food is generally of a poor quality, we ate at the sports cafe once, and once was enough for over priced and lukewarm greasy food. Bella italia is no better, we were unlucky enough to be sat by the open kitchen. Any italian restaurant that uses packet tried pasta as i saw the 'chef's opening the packets, shouldn't be allowed to call themselves an italian.

Overall, yes it is expensive but its possbile to go there have a nice time without breaking the bank


by TripAdvisor Member Waters123

I went in a comfort plus villa and it was excellent the surroundings where you are placed is amazing. I went with a party of 6 and a dog and Center Parcs Elveden does fantastic walks for a dog with amazing forests and wildlife. When we went we all done a variety of activities and they are all at good standard and the staff are helpful and polite. The only problem with the activities is they are a awful amount of money! And some of the things you get a very limmited amount of time, for the price of money. The best thing i think about center parcs is the Subtropical swimming paradise which is amazing and amuses all ages. The pool is very clean and has alot of things to do there. We didn't eat out as we thought it was quite alot of money even though we did have fish and chips take way which was very nice! So overall it was very nice and i would definately return in the future as it pleases all the family. But it could deal with being a bit cheaper!




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Forum Posts

A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by smeans2

Hi Always-Helpful VT Forum,

I have two days left in Suffolk, based in Lavenham, before moving on to Norfolk (yes, it's the E.A. grand tour for a New Yorker). Tomorrow (Sat.) promises to be rainy. I'm saving a 'Constable country drive' for Sunday, which looks like the better day (weather). CRISIS: What to do with the rainy day? I imagined I would visit both Bury (so close) and Saffron Walden (in Essex, but not too far away). Now it seems like either/or. Any advice about the better rainy-day-choice?

MANY thanks in advance.



Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by Britannia2

Cambridge and try and find something indoors? I have not been to Cambridge for years so cannot remember much about it but there would be tips here on VT.

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by smeans2

Hi Colin, You've been helpful to me before (in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire last year), but here, sorry, no. Not that it's a bad suggestion, but I've been to Cambridge several times, and I began this trip there, so it must be some place new. In Bury I would at least have the churches--maybe other things indoors more than in Saffron Walden? Thanks for the try. --Spencer

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by Britannia2

What about Duxford? Its a part of the Imperial War Museum in East Anglia. I guess not if you do not like planes and war related stuff but I enjoyed it when I went. There are some USAAF WW2 planes there.

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by johngayton

Bury and Saffron are both worth a visit. Both have some cracking pubs - but you're driving ;(

Personally I'd have a rainy day at the seaside. Southwold is well worth a visit with some great restaurants, pubs and the Adnams brewery - ach, forgot you're driving.

Seriously though, Southwold is definitely worth thinking about.

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by puerto_lover

Did you visit Sutton Hoo ? The ancient Anglo-Saxon burial site with exhibition. And nearby Woodbridge on the Deben is worth stopping at. Only 30 miles away.

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by smeans2

Not a bad idea, but I was there yesterday. Thanks.

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by Britannia2

Saturday and its an awful day - let us know what you did.

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by smeans2

Well, it was an awful day, rainy and cold--the only washout of my week in Suffolk. I decided on a short visit to Bury St Edmunds, since it's so close. It wasn't actually raining while I was there, so I had my rewards: the abbey gardens and ruins and the church of St Mary, which I particularly wanted to see. Alas, guests were arriving for a wedding, so I was only allowed a quick look around. Not the way I like to see a church, but I was impressed. Did a little shopping, returned to Lavenham, built a fire in the fireplace, and did laundry :-) Not very exciting, I know, but I made the best of a bad day. Today I moved to Norfolk for a week. It was incredible how the landscape changed exactly at the county line. Unbelievable, but perfect. Suddenly, I was in a different place. I'm churched-out for now; time to regroup and figure out what to do next. On to the Norfolk Forum :-) Thanks to all for the suggestions. --Spencer

Re: A rainy day: in Bury St Edmunds or Saffron Walden (I know, not Suffolk)?

by Britannia2

Really glad you are enjoying our country Spencer - Norfolk is a beautiful county.


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Address: Elveden Forest, , United Kingdom